A nurse is a very difficult job that requires the applicants to be patient and willing to help people to follow the work terms. They often work overtime, serve alternate shifts, and may even miss significant events in their life (Berkowitz & McCarthy, 2012). Additionally, it is highly important for the nurses to keep pace with modern technologies in order to improve and enhance the work process. One of the modern innovations is the use of smartphones and social media at one’s workplace, which has already yielded both positive and negative results. According to Berkowitz & McCarthy (2012), social media and smartphones are being utilized by nurses and other healthcare practitioners to ensure that better medical care is initiated within patients. Nevertheless, being unguided and unregulated, the use of modern technologies could also become detrimental.
Present paper investigates the case of a nurse who used her smartphone at a workplace in order to take photos of a patient. The photographs were later sold to and used by mass media thus violating the privacy of the patient. According to Tyrrell (2002), an enumeration on the safeguards and decision making support gadgets embedded in patient care technologies and information systems contributes to safe practice and convenient atmosphere for the patients and healthcare employees. The paper will research the principles of data integrity, professional ethics, and legal requirements associated with data security by the example of the given case. Lastly, regulatory requirements, confidentiality, and patient’s right to privacy will be discussed under the terms of HIPAA.
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HIPAA Regulatory Requirements
Both smartphones and social media create a lot of challenges in the healthcare sector. Therefore, there is a strong need to utilize HIPAA rules and regulations. HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) was passed by Congress in 1996 and signed by President Bill Clinton. The Act offers the ability to transfer and continue health insurance coverage for millions of American employees and their families in case they change or happen to lose their jobs (Herold & Beaver, 2014). It is highly relevant to follow the terms of HIPAA as it ensures that confidentiality and security of protected health information are undertaken when the transfer is made, attained, or shared.
HIPAA is legislation that offers data privacy and security provisions for taking care of medical information. HIPAA’s implications ensure that data integrity is upheld by maintaining and assuring the accuracy and consistency of information in the health care sector. Furthermore, they emphasize the significance of practicing professional ethics and legal needs that are in line with security issues (Herold & Beaver, 2014). HIPAA protects patients’ health information while permitting covered entities to adopt new technologies so as to improve the quality and efficiency of patient care.
The contents of HIPAA are strongly related to the given scenario. Some of the information that needs to be protected under the regulations of HIPAA includes past, present, and future provisions of a patient, such as their healthcare status and payment for the condition in question. In the given case, the HIPAA violation resulted in the initiation of investigation related to the patient’s privacy (Herold & Beaver, 2014). More precisely, the hospital is being sued due to the pictures that were sold to the Gossip Gazette.
According to the nurse, the photos were only shared with her friend, while her smartphone was presumably stolen from the workplace. Nevertheless, in the given case, HIPAA was definitely violated. The nurse may be arrested as she shared photos of a patient without his consent. It could also be concluded that the HIPAA violations are quite costly for healthcare and nurses as fines would be imposed (Herold & Beaver, 2014). Health providers would face criminal penalties stemming from the violations of HIPAA privacy and security rules.
It is beneficial for nurses and other members of the staff to practice the rules and regulations of HIPAA as they are designed to safeguard their rights. According to the given case study, it is apparent that the nurse in question did not follow the rules and will have to be punished for her unlawful actions (Herold & Beaver, 2014). HIPAA specifically emphasizes the relevance of confidentiality, the patient’s right to privacy, and regulatory needs, hence, the nurse is to be held liable for her mistake.
Advantages of Using Smartphones and Social Media in Healthcare
- Both smartphones and social media are significant in healthcare service as they could help in establishing contacts among colleagues globally (Mowafa, 2014). The presence of smartphones and social media as a connecting tool among health practitioners is a relevant entity in modern healthcare, as smartphones generate immediate feedback.
- Smartphones can be used to update posts on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. The posts may contain significant data concerning health support. The approach can be implemented by posting the news on Facebook and Twitter pages where more people can follow the information in question and put it into practice based on a healthcare perspective. Both smartphones and social media act as a source of interaction meant to enlighten nurses and health practitioners to utilize relevant service delivery in healthcare service (Berkowitz & McCarthy, 2012).
- Such platforms as Twitter can be used to create ‘hashtags’ meant to pass on the information related to healthcare. It is a good approach as the followers of the page associated with healthcare such as nurses and patients will know how to deal with different health issues that they face or study (Tyrrell, 2002).
Disadvantages of Using Smartphones and Social Media in Healthcare
- The usage of smartphones and social media may result in hackers’ attacks. The hackers can easily commit fraud, conduct virus attacks, or send spam. As a result, private information meant for internal use only might be retrieved and used by criminals. This could ultimately lead to lawsuits in the healthcare sector (Tyrrell, 2002).
- Smartphones and social media may bring negative results in the healthcare sector due to misuse. For instance, the usage of smartphone for personal reasons during patient care may lead to distraction and inability to perform one’s duties. Personal reasons may entail chatting, texting, and emailing as opposed to taking care of the patient (Berkowitz & McCarthy, 2012).
- Information shared on social media cannot be controlled when it comes to people commenting on the page because each person has the ability to write or say what they perceive is right. Thus, smartphones can only be used by those individuals who can operate them effectively (Ciampa & Revels, 2012).
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Conclusion and Recommendations
Smart phones and social media are relevant in the healthcare sector, although their usage may cause negative consequences. Smartphones and social media may be used to share the information which might help to establish better service in the healthcare sector. Nevertheless, misuse of these innovations can harm if it is not controlled according to the terms of the HIPAA. The concepts of HIPAA are relevant as they assist healthcare practitioners and the companies involved in developing and improving their service. It is therefore of paramount importance to follow the rules and regulations under the Act.
The primary recommendation in the given case is to teach healthcare practitioners how to use smartphones and social media correctly to avoid a negative impact on the healthcare sector. The regulations of HIPAA need to be demonstrated in detail among practitioners in order to ensure that smartphones and social media are utilized in the right perspective. Despite the fact that smartphones and social media are starting to play an important role in the healthcare sector, it is significant to follow the rules and regulations initiated by HIPAA in order to generate relevant results in the healthcare sector.